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Stamets Stack (Stacking Lion’s Mane)

Stacking Lion’s Mane has quickly gained popularity in the microdosing community. First off, stacking refers to combing various non-psychoactive substances with a psychoactive microdosing substance to increase the benefit related to microdosing. Since renowed mycologist Paul Stamets first mentioned stacking, and a large community of biohackers, microdosers and people looking to increase their brain health, have adopted Stamets’ (now patented) microdosing stacking method. The Stamets’ Stack, combines the medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane with niacin (vitamin B3) and psilocybin (either Magic Mushrooms or Magic Truffles). 

Stamets came up with the combination of psilocybin mushrooms and lion’s mane for its dual capacity to 1) create new neurons and neural pathways in the brain, and also 2) to repair existing neurological damage.

The evidence comes from two lab studies where the scientists intentionally damaged the brains of mice through the introduction of a neurotoxin. They observed the mice’s behavior and noted that they exhibited dementia-like symptoms. Upon introducing lion’s mane, the effects of the neurotoxin reversed.

stamets stack

What is Lion's Mane?

Lion’s mane, also known as Bearded Tooth Fungus or Hedgehog Mushroom”, is a medicinal mushroom that naturally grows in North America, Europe, and Asia. Medicinal mushrooms are gaining much attention nowadays, but Lion’s Mane has drawn particular attention for its unique nerve-regenerative properties. Its use goes back hundreds of years in traditional Chinese and Japanese culture as a tonic for supporting overall health and longevity.

What does Lion's Mane do?

Lion’s Mane is nature’s brain food; it stimulates the brain to produce more NGF (Nerve Growth Factors). These are responsible for the production, growth, and maintenance of neurons in the brain. NGF is specifically responsible for myelin sheath production, a layer around the brain cells that protects and increases the conduction of the stimuli between cells. Unfortunately, as we age, these sheaths can become damaged, and the conduction speed becomes much slower, leading to the deterioration of brain functions (as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease). In other words, Lion’s Mane helps to keep the brain vital and healthy. 

Additionally, Lion’s Mane contains antioxidants that support the overall health of your cells. These are responsible for the transportation of your energy. The formula is simple: healthier cells, better energy transportation, more energy!

lion's mane extract
A Lion's Mane supplement (tincture)

The Benefits of Lion's Mane

  • Increases memory
  • Increases focus
  • Increases concentration
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Support gut health
  • Improved mood
  • Increases energy levels
  • Supports insulin sensitivity
  • Can help with PTSD
  • Regeneration of vision neurons
  • Regeneration of auditory neurons

What is niacin and why is it in the stack?

Stamets reports that the majority of neurogenesis occurs in the nerve extremities; since niacin works as a flushing agent and carries the molecules of the other compounds across the blood-brain barrier, so it helps with the distribution of these important molecules. 

Niacin (nicotinic acid), also known as vitamin B3 or vitamin PP, is a vitamin created in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. It’s obtained in the diet from a variety of whole and processed foods (on the label as E375). Although the names are similar, nicotinic acid has nothing to do with nicotine in tobacco. To avoid confusion, nicotinic acid is mostly referred to as niacin.

Niacin (nicotinic acid) plays a vital role in energy and protein metabolism. Without this vitamin, a proper metabolism such as the synthesis of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates can’t exist. Niacin has an anti-oxidative effect and participates in many enzymatic processes. It’s essential for the regeneration of the skin, muscles, nerves, and DNA.

When is taking niacin not recommended

  • Hypersensitivity to vitamin B3
  • Liver diseases
  • Ulcerus pepticum (ulcer of stomach and/or duodenum)
  • Gout
  • Alcoholism
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Interaction

In a dose-dependent way, niacin induces insulin resistance and lowers glucose tolerance. In those without diabetes, blood glucose levels normally stay within normal ranges; in diabetics, a maximum dose of 1.5 grams of niacin per day is recommended (at this dose, the effect on blood glucose levels is minimal).

A “niacin flush” is characterized by red colour on the face, arms, and chest (sometimes with small swelling of the skin) and a burning, stinging, and/or itching feeling, as well as a headache, can occur with taking more than 50 milligrams of niacin. These symptoms persist from 30 minutes to an hour on average. This reaction can be intense, but it’s not an allergic reaction. It’s harmless and only lasts a few minutes. By gradually increasing the amount and combining niacin with a vitamin B complex and vitamin C, this flush can be avoided. Never take more than 500 milligrams of niacin per day.

"Humans have more in common with fungi than any other kingdom. Therefore, some people say we came from fungi, and they are our elders. Mushrooms can kill us, feed us, send us on a spiritual journey and heal us."

Paul Stamets

Stacking Lion's Mane with niacin and psilocybin

At the level of the microdose, psilocybin has a sub-perceptual effect. Within that hardly noticeable effect, it has the potential to reduce anxiety and irritability, enhance cognitive functions and creativity, increase socializing, provide a greater general sense of well-being, and reduce the effects of aging.

Through this greater sense of well-being, our immune system gets stronger too. Stacking Lion’s Mane can promote self-awareness, creativity, cognition, health, well-being, and recognition of the interconnectedness of all life.

Stamets argues the Lion’s Mane, psilocybin and niacine stacking formula should be considered, and made available, as any other vitamin for supplement, claiming that its neurogenerative effect (over several generations) has the potential to initiate ‘the next quantum leap in human consciousness.’

How to stack Lion's Mane according to Stamets' Stack method

Microdosing with Paul Stamets’ stacking protocol is easy. The protocol looks as follows:

DAY 1-4 (microdosing days)

DAY 4-7 (non-microdosing days)

  • 5-20 grams of Lion’s Mane
  • 75-200 milligrams of niacin

CYCLE: continue for four weeks

RESET: two to four weeks

All ingredients for stacking Lion’s Mane are available through our partner webshop Microdose.nl (EU shipping only). 

Is Stacking Lion's Mane Safe?

When you take niacin in a dose of 75 milligrams or more, you can experience the flush; a tingling sensation, and redness in the face, neck, and arms, which is entirely harmless when stacking Lion’s Mane. Yet it’s the symptom of the niacin doing what it’s supposed to do. Therefore, do not use the no-flush variety of niacin. If your reaction is too intense at 200 milligrams, lower the dose to 100 or even 75 milligrams. Microdosers report that the flush effect gets less intense once their body gets used to the stacking routine.

Your story is powerful ✍️

Your experience can help orient other microdosers, and benefit the community at large. Consider taking a couple of minutes to write down your experiences with microdosing (positive or negative).

Sources

  • Brandalise, F., Cesaroni, V., Gregori, A., Repetti, M., Romano, C., Orrù, G., Botta, L., Girometta, C., Guglielminetti, M. L., Savino, E., & Rossi, P. (2017). Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 3864340.
  • Kawagishi, H., Ando, M., Sakamota, H., Yoshia, S., Ojima, F., Ishiguro, Y., Ukai, N., & Furukawa, S. (1991). Hericenones C, D and E, stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Tetrahedron Letters, 32(35), 4561-4564.
  • Khan, M. A., Tania, M., Liu, R., & Rahman, M. M. (2013). Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values. Journal of complementary & integrative medicine, 10 (1)
  • Shang, X., Tan, Q., Liu, R., Yu, K., Li, P., & Zhao, G. P. (2013). In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori effects of medicinal mushroom extracts, with special emphasis on the Lion’s Mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (higher Basidiomycetes). International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 15(2), 165–174.
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